Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dear C-section Doctor

Dear C-section Doctor.

I had a cesarean with you in June 2010 after a failed induction at 41 weeks.  I pushed for 15 minutes before you came in and told me my daughter wasn’t “coming out this way.”  I continued to push for over 2 hours.  I was finally told that my daughter was posterior and that I had made zero progress.  It was time for a cesarean.  I was not given an option for vacuum suction, episiotomy, forceps delivery, or the option to push longer.  I understand there are risks involved with every procedure, but I had no idea how much of a fight I would have ahead of me because of that cesarean.

At my six week follow up, you asked me if I was depressed.  I sat there with tears in my eyes and shook my head, whispering no.  You didn’t even lift your head from your paper as you wrote “no”.  I went through months of depression.

I found the ICAN network (International Cesarean Awareness Network) and started planning my VBAC.  I found a supportive provider despite the fact you used a single layer suture.  I beat PPD by reliving my cesarean over and over and sharing my story.  I found out that there are thousands of women who feel the same way I do.  

I had an epidural free, intervention free VBAC in April 2012.  Her head circumference was just as large as my first daughters.  

I made a lot of mistakes the first time around.  I didn’t watch my weight, I didn’t exercise, I wasn’t educated in general.  But my biggest mistake was going to a practice with a 44% cesarean rate.  You are a surgeon.  Not someone who believes in the birth process.  I think any doctor with that high of a cesarean rate should rethink their career path.  

Did you know the phrase by Edwin Craigin “Once a cesarean, always a cesarean” was to meant to warn doctors against cesareans because one of  the risks of a primary cesarean is that repeat operations may be necessary?  It has been almost 100 years since that article was published and we’ve done nothing but regress.  

I wrote this letter because I’ve wanted to ever since I left your office a broken shell of a woman.  I’m very lucky I have such a supportive network of people that have made me whole again.  Now, almost three years later, I’m grateful for the experience because it has shaped who I am today.  I hope that in the future you remember how important the birth process can be to some women and how much of a vital part you play in that process.  

Jessica Franks
ICAN of Phoenix Co-leader